- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota residents have until October to apply for tax incentives meant to encourage people to install buffer strips between agricultural land and waterways, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s office said Wednesday.

Lawmakers this year approved a law that offers property tax breaks for land turned into buffer strips of vegetation to help keep fertilizer, pesticides and sediment from reaching rivers, streams and lakes.

The law allows for tax incentives on 50- to 120-foot buffers along waterways, including 575 lakes and roughly 11,000 miles of streams in South Dakota. Eligible buffer strips would be assessed at 60 percent of the land’s agricultural income value.

Daugaard’s administration created an online map to help property owners figure out which bodies of water qualify.

“South Dakotans place a very high value on the water quality of our lakes and streams,” Daugaard said in a statement. “I expect many South Dakotans will choose to participate in this program to help improve water quality in our state, and this new map makes it easy to understand who qualifies.”

Under the law, buffer strip vegetation can be harvested or mowed after July 10, but a minimum of 4 inches of cover is required at all times. Grazing is prohibited from May through September to help keep livestock waste out of lakes and streams.

Landowners have until Oct. 15 to submit an application for the 2018 tax year to the director of equalization in the county where their property is located.

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